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#1 Mikko Wilson

Mikko Wilson

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:27 PM

Ocasionally I have some odd ideas. Sometimes I even think they may have some substance... So here's my latest ponderment, inspired by the various advances taking place in the field (especially the AR)..

The topic title might allready give it away.

Most of us are familier with the Technocrane. Which really is a rather clever idea that makes a Crane/Jib infinatly more versitile.
For those of you that arn't famillier with them, they are basically a Crane that telescopes. When the main boom telescopes, the counterweights are moved by pullyes in tandem to keep the system in ballance.

Many Steadicam sleds are telescoping, designed to allow for the adjustment of the camera's hight for a specific shot. Of course extending the sled requires a new verticle ballance adjustment to be perfomed by moving either the gimble or extending the other side of the sled too. (yeah, basic stuff, but here's my train of thought...)

What if you could have a sled that could change length *during* the shot?

The AR allready allows us to go from high to low mode and back during the shot, well shat if you could go from super-low-mode to super-high-mode during a shot?

My thought was that if you could somehow have the upper part of the sled telescope, and then somehow telescope the bottom part of the sled in sync (at the right ratio) to keep the system in ballance.

There are some issues that i have come up with though.
With a Technocrane it's preaty simple, because the ratios are always the same. However on a Steadicam, the gimble can move, and that would effect the ratio of the sled for movement. So a mechanical (pullies, cables, etc..) system would be out.
My solution to this woudl be to many have a dual motorized system that you woudl calibrate with the gimble's position and it would calculate the right ratios.
And then to mix it up, you can't forget Dynamic Ballance! ...complicated!

Then there is the issue of rigidty. At long lenths, a regular Carbon-Fiber sled can allready become too flexible. So that would be something that coudl pose some challenges.

And then also the is the issue of the weight of the system. That alone might be prohibative.

If I was in a different situation, I might even persue theis idea myself first, get a patent, etc.. but what the heck. I think that if i mention it now, then maybe someone with the resources could have one working sometime in the much near(er) future!

So, what are everybody's thoughts on this idea?
I realize that it's prolly not a really good one, but it could at least rase some interesting discussion.

On a side note.. how does the AR ballance vertically? is it just operated with neutral sled ballance?

- Mikko
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#2 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:59 PM


I said the same thing to Howard after I flew the AR for a few minutes. His response was akin to "no duh? But how?" So clearly, I was not the first to have thought of it - just as in 1992 I asked Charles Papert why no one put the camera in a gimbal on the sled to always keep it upright - his response was again.... people have thought of it, but how? In our business, it is not just the ideas that make it, but the execution. Now that the self-leveling camera is beginning to become reality, we should explore the next steps, but there are many obstacles. Weight & vibration are key.

I've spent 12+ years trying to simplify my rig as much as possible and make it as rigid as possible and now we have the AR, which I'm terrified is the polar opposite. Then again, by this logic, we should all be driving model-T cars. So, onward & upward......
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 01:53 AM

mmm...rggg...1992. yes, I remember that conversation, Alec; it was during recess--I was in 6th grade, you were in 4th grade, right??!!
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